Outdoor Recreation


Today, due to the generosity of contacts at WWF in Hong Kong, we received a tour of Mai Po Nature Reserve in Hong Kong’s New Territories.   Mai Po is a large wetland reserve filled with very cool flora and fauna, and really is a bird lovers’ paradise.  Mai Po is protected by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and our visit was truly a treat.   We saw mangroves, traditional shrimp ponds, fish farms (right outside the reserve), and beautiful flowers, and, with fancy digital binoculars and scopes, saw beautiful birds: spoonbills, herons, egrets, and ducks.

Every year I take my Natural  Resources Law class for a guided nature walk and tour of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park located about 25 minutes south of Vermont Law School.  Here are some photos of this year’s excursion.

I’ve started watching the Ken Burns’ documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, and today showed the first hour to my Natural Resources Law class.  The film brought to mind two initial thoughts.

First, after watching about John Muir, I considered all the environmentalists/conservationists/outdoorsmen from Wisconsin (where I grew up)–Muir, Aldo Leopold, Owen Gromme, Gaylord Nelson, and, of course, my grandfather Gerald Czarnezki (a proud member of the first graduating class of the conservation education program at the Central State Teachers College at Stevens Point, now UW-Stevens Point).   Of note, Wisconsin passed the Conservation Education Statute that required “adequate instruction in the conservation of natural resources” in order to be certified to teach science or social studies, and the state legislature also required that conservation of natural resources be taught in public elementary and high schools.

Second, it made me want to create a lists of national parks that I want to see for the first time or return to.  The list so far:

  1. Yosemite
  2. Grand Canyon
  3. Kenai Fjords
  4. Glacier Bay
  5. Return to Yellowstone and Grand Teton with family
  6. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
  7. Redwood
  8. Glacier

I’ll keep adding to the list, and will likely add more  once I finish the Burns documentary.  Please feel free to suggest some additions.  The Park Service does have an interactive map online.

Updated: I’ve added to my list– 9. Muir Woods, 10. Crater Lake, 11. Zion

Various environmental groups filed a Petition requesting that the EPA ban lead shot, bullets, and fishing sinkers under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  On August 27th, in this Letter, EPA denied the portion of the Petition related to lead shot because the EPA argues it lacks authority to regulate lead shot and bullets due to the exemption in TSCA sec. 3(2)(b)(v), which exempts “any article the sale of which is subject to the tax imposed by section 4181 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.”  That section of the tax code refers to pistols, revolvers, firearms, shells and cartridges.  Other items are also exempt from TSCA when they are the subject of other federal statutory jurisdiction like the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.  However, the EPA may still regulate fishing tackle and are taking comment on this issue.  See here and here.

I spent a summer in college with a National Science Foundation grant doing research in Yellowstone National Park under the guidance of scientists from the Great Lakes WATER Institute.  While most of memories are of doing science experiments late into the evening, many of my memories consist of park visitors doing very dumb things like hiking without a compass and getting lost and putting little kids on the backs of bison.  Apparently, according to this article, technology is giving park visitors more confidence to do stupid things.  Amazing.

We live in Montpelier, Vermont, and my partner is from Peaks Island, Maine.  When traveling between the two, it is clear that we are spoiled by the nature of New England.  From my backyard, I can see Camel’s Hump and the Green Mountains.  Driving east via Route 2, we drive past Groton State Forest, and into New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest where we recently saw a large black bear just west of Gorham, NH.  After following the lakes and rivers of Western Maine, we arrive at Portland’s Casco Bay for the ferry to Peaks Island.

Sunset from Peaks Island

Sunset from Peaks Island

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